Court Orders Firm To Pay Former Staff USD 308k Outstanding Salaries

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Hon. Justice Ikechi Nweneka of the Lagos Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has ordered Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd to pay one Mr. Emenike Onyegeme-Okerenta the sum of USD308,596.71 [Three Hundred and Eight Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety-Six Dollars, Seventy-One Cents] being his outstanding salaries.

The Court declared that Mr. Emenike has established his claim for the outstanding salaries, and awarded the sum of N500, 000.00 [Five Hundred Thousand Naira] against the Defendant as general damages and cost of action.

From facts, the Claimant- Mr. Emenike Onyegeme-Okerenta had submitted that he discharged his duties throughout the duration of his employment to the full satisfaction of the firm; but for several months the company was inconsistent with payment of his salary, and at the end of his service on 28th February 2019, his total unpaid salary stood at USD308,596.71.

He added that prior to his disengagement, he demanded payment of his salary but was informed via mail that the outstanding salaries would be paid within ninety days from 28th February 2019, the promise was not honoured, and all efforts to get his entitlement proved abortive.

However, despite service of the originating process and hearing notices, the Defendant- Shebah Exploration and Production Company neither appeared in Court nor filed a defence to the suit.

The Learned Counsel to the claimant, Liborous Oshoma Esq. with Ogochukwu M. Chikezie Esq contended that the company’s express admission of indebtedness in its mail of 14th February 2019 is clear, and urged the court to grant the reliefs sought in the interest of justice.

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Delivering judgment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Ikechi Nweneka held that the failure of Shebah Exploration and Production Company to defend the suit does not entitle Mr. Emenike to automatic judgment and the responsibility of establishing the claim to the satisfaction of the Court rests on the Claimant.

After careful evaluation of the submission of the party and the processes filed, Justice Nweneka ruled that Shebah Exploration and Production Company’s failure to respond to Exhibits 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 amounts to an admission of the content of the letters, and Mr. Emenike has established his claim for the sum of USD308,596.71 to the satisfaction of the court.

“It is ordered that Defendant pay interest on the judgment sum at the rate of 10% per annum from today until the judgment sum is fully liquidated.”

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